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Journal Article

Defining and disrupting species boundaries in Saccharomyces


Boynton,  Primrose
External Organizations;
Max Planck Fellow Group Environmental Genomics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Ono, J., Greig, D., & Boynton, P. (2020). Defining and disrupting species boundaries in Saccharomyces. Annual Review of Microbiology, 74, 477-495. doi:10.1146/annurev-micro-021320-014036.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-8D3A-7
The genus Saccharomyces is an evolutionary paradox. On the one hand, it is composed of at least eight clearly phylogenetically delineated species; these species are reproductively isolated from each other, and hybrids usually cannot complete their sexual life cycles. On the other hand, Saccharomyces species have a long evolutionary history of hybridization, which has phenotypic consequences for adaptation and domestication. A variety of cellular, ecological, and evolutionary mechanisms are responsible for this partial reproductive isolation among Saccharomyces species. These mechanisms have caused the evolution of diverse Saccharomyces species and hybrids, which occupy a variety of wild and domesticated habitats. In this article, we introduce readers to the mechanisms isolating Saccharomyces species, the circumstances in which reproductive isolation mechanisms are effective and ineffective, and the evolutionary consequences of partial reproductive isolation. We discuss both the evolutionary history of the genus Saccharomyces and the human history of taxonomists and biologists struggling with species concepts in this fascinating genus.